Yearly Archives: 2016

2016 Predictions: Calibration Results

At the beginning of every year, I make predictions. At the end of every year, I score them. Here are 2014 and 2015.

And here are the predictions I made for 2016. Strikethrough’d are false. Intact are true. Italicized are getting thrown out because I can’t decide if they’re true or not.

1. US will not get involved in any new major war with death toll of > 100 US soldiers: 60%
2. North Korea’s government will survive the year without large civil war/revolt: 95%
3. Greece will not announce it’s leaving the Euro: 95%
4. No terrorist attack in the USA will kill > 100 people: 90%
5. …in any First World country: 80%
6. Assad will remain President of Syria: 60%
7. Israel will not get in a large-scale war (ie >100 Israeli deaths) with any Arab state: 90%
8. No major intifada in Israel this year (ie > 250 Israeli deaths, but not in Cast Lead style war): 80%
9. No interesting progress with Gaza or peace negotiations in general this year: 90%
10. No Cast Lead style bombing/invasion of Gaza this year: 90%
11. Situation in Israel looks more worse than better: 70%
12. Syria’s civil war will not end this year: 70%
13. ISIS will control less territory than it does right now: 90%
14. ISIS will not continue to exist as a state entity: 60%
15. No major civil war in Middle Eastern country not currently experiencing a major civil war: 90%
16. Libya to remain a mess: 80%
17. Ukraine will neither break into all-out war or get neatly resolved: 80%
18. No country currently in Euro or EU announces plan to leave: 90%
19. No agreement reached on “two-speed EU”: 80%
20. Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination: 95%
21. Donald Trump will win the Republican nomination: 60%
22. Conditional on Trump winning the Republican nomination, he impresses everyone how quickly he pivots towards wider acceptability: 70%
23. Conditional on Trump winning the Republican nomination, he’ll lose the general election: 80%
24. Conditional on Trump winning the Republican nomination, he’ll lose the general election worse than either McCain or Romney: 70%
25. Marco Rubio will not win the Republican nomination: 60%
26. Bloomberg will not run for President: 80%
27. Hillary Clinton will win the Presidency: 60%
28. Republicans will keep the House: 95%
29. Republicans will keep the Senate: 70%
30. Bitcoin will end the year higher than $500: 80%
31. Oil will end the year lower than $40 a barrel: 60%
32. Dow Jones will not fall > 10% this year: 70%
33. Shanghai index will not fall > 10% this year: 60%
34. No major revolt (greater than or equal to Tiananmen Square) against Chinese Communist Party: 95%
35. No major war in Asia (with >100 Chinese, Japanese, South Korean, and American deaths combined) over tiny stupid islands: 99%
36. No exchange of fire over tiny stupid islands: 90%
37. US GDP growth lower than in 2015: 60%
38. US unemployment to be lower at end of year than beginning: 50%
39. No announcement of genetically engineered human baby or credible plan for such: 90%
40. No major change in how the media treats social justice issues from 2015: 70%
41. European far right makes modest but not spectacular gains: 80%
42. Mainstream European position at year’s end is taking migrants was bad idea: 60%
43. Occupation of Oregon ranger station ends: 99%
44. So-called “Ferguson effect” continues and becomes harder to deny: 70%
45. SpaceX successfully launches a reused rocket: 50%
46. Nobody important changes their mind much about the EMDrive based on any information found in 2016: 80%
47. California’s drought not officially declared over: 50%
48. No major earthquake (>100 deaths) in US: 99%
49. No major earthquake (>10000 deaths) in the world: 60%

1. SSC will remain active: 95%
2. SSC will get fewer hits than in 2015: 60%
3. At least one SSC post > 100,000 hits: 50%
4. UNSONG will get fewer hits than SSC in 2016: 90%
5. > 10 new permabans from SSC this year: 70%
5. UNSONG will get > 1,000,000 hits: 50%
6. UNSONG will not miss any updates: 50%
7. UNSONG will have higher Google Trends volume than HPMOR at the end of this year: 60%
8. UNSONG Reddit will not have higher average user activity than HPMOR Reddit at the end of this year: 60%
9. Shireroth will remain active: 70%
10. I will be involved in at least one published/accepted-to-publish research paper by the end of 2016: 50%
11. I won’t stop using Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook: 95%
12. > 10,000 Twitter followers by end of this year: 50%
13. I will not break up with any of my current girlfriends: 70%
14. I will not get any new girlfriends: 50%
15. I will attend at least one Solstice next year: 90%
16. …at least two Solstices: 70%
17. I will finish a long blog post review of stereotype threat this year: 60%
18. Conditional on finishing it, it won’t significantly change my position: 90%
19. I will finish a long FAQ this year: 60%
20. I will not have a post-residency job all lined up by the end of this year: 80%
21. I will have finished all the relevant parts of my California medical license application by the end of this year: 70%
22. I will no longer be living in my current house at the end of this year: 70%
23. I will still be at my current job: 95%
24. I will still not have gotten my elective surgery: 80%
25. I will not have been hospitalized (excluding ER) for any other reason: 95%
26. I will not have taken any international vacations with my family: 70%
27. I will not be taking any nootropic daily or near-daily during any 2-month period this year: 90%
28. I will complete an LW/SSC survey: 80%
29. I will complete a new nootropics survey: 80%
30. I will score 95th percentile or above in next year’s PRITE: 50%
31. I will not be Chief Resident next year: 60%
32. I will not have any inpatient rotations: 50%
33. I will continue doing outpatient at the current clinic: 90%
34. I will not have major car problems: 60%
35. I won’t publicly and drastically change highest-level political/religious/philosophical positions (eg become a Muslim or Republican): 90%
36. I will not vote in the 2016 primary: 70%
37. I will vote in the 2016 general election: 60%
38. Conditional on me voting and Hillary being on the ballot, I will vote for Hillary: 90%
39. I will not significantly change my mind about psychodynamic or cognitive-behavioral therapy: 80%
40. I will not attend the APA meeting this year: 80%
41. I will not do any illegal drugs (besides gray-area nootropics) this year: 90%
42. I will not get drunk this year: 80%
43. Less Wrong will neither have shut down entirely nor undergone any successful renaissance/pivot by the end of this year: 60%
44. No co-bloggers (with more than 5 posts) on SSC by the end of this year: 80%
45. I get at least one article published on a major site like Huffington Post or Vox or New Statesman or something: 50%
46. I still plan to move to California when I’m done with residency: 90%
47. I don’t manage to make it to my friend’s wedding in Ireland: 60%
48. I don’t attend any weddings this year: 50%
49. I decide to buy the car I am currently leasing: 60%
50. Except for the money I spend buying the car, I make my savings goal before July 2016: 90%

Of 50% predictions, I got 8 right and 5 wrong, for a score of 62%
Of 60% predictions, I got 12 right and 9 wrong, for a score of 57%
Of 70% predictions, I got 13 right and 3 wrong, for a score of 81%
Of 80% predictions, I got 13 right and 3 wrong, for a score of 81%
Of 90% predictions, I got 16 right and 1 wrong, for a score of 94%
For 95% predictions, I got 9 right and 0 wrong, for a score of 100%
For 99% predictions, I got 3 right and 0 wrong, for a score of 100%

This is the graph of my accuracy for this year:

Red is hypothetical perfect calibration, blue is my calibration. I am too lazy and bad at graphs to put in 95% right, but it doesn’t change the picture very much (especially because it’s impossible to get a very accurate 95% with 9 questions).

The 50% number is pretty meaningless, as many people have noted, so my main deviation was some underconfidence at 70%. This was probably meaningless in the context of this year’s numbers alone, but looking back at 2014 and 2015, I see a pretty similar picture. I am probably generally a little bit underconfident in medium probabilities (I have also gotten lazier about making graphs).

Overall I rate this year’s predictions a success. Predictions for 2017 coming soon.